America’s Next War: Is it Ready?
By Rhino Den Ruffians
An often-made joke that isn’t actually funny is that America is really good at fighting its last war when it should be fighting the one it’s in. From failures to understand technological advances in World War I to trying to fight insurgencies with a Cold War army, America has a history of being super prepared for something that already happened, but kinda slow on upcoming threats.
So how does that get fixed? Well, if you’re a PhD-holding policy-wonk, it gets addressed by writing 30-page analyses that no one actually reads. If you’re a grunt, it gets handled by bitching. Because that’s what grunts do.
Instead of either of those, how about a few relatively well-educated and experienced military personnel crack some jokes about what the United States armed forces get wrong and champion what it gets right while simultaneously making fun of everything not American? I think you’ll agree, that has a lot of potential.
The adage that America is always prepared to fight the last war is a nice bromide, but it’s flat out wrong. Since WW1 we’ve actually always been ready to fight the next WW1. When it comes to conventional force on force conflicts, we’re golden, and when we we get to do that, we get all giddy and squeal like schoolkids (Desert Storm). When it comes to everything else, we suck.
We’ve been fighting insurgencies for 16 years, and at any CTC rotation you’re seeing us dominate the battlespace with armor and CAS, but at the same time we’re storming into hospitals, kicking out doctors and patients, and turning protected sites into patrol bases. We’ve got BDE commanders insisting that the way to win the highly sophisticated and sensitive information war is to call the non-Arab OPFOR “dogs”, because you know, Arabs hate dogs. It’s totally insulting. It’ll crush those dirty OPFOR, who again, aren’t Arabs, and even if they were, wouldn’t really care.
Meanwhile, former KGB officer and current GOP bestie Vladimir Putin uses some dope psychological warfare, spending years building up ethnic enclaves and pre-sets for plausible deniability, rolling into Ukraine and up and annexing territory, largely without firing a shot. Annexing territory through military aggression is a big no no, in case you didn’t know, but the US couldn’t do a damn thing about it, because the Russians, those sly sly devils, simply said they weren’t there. They took off their flags, name tapes, and painted over the national markings on their vehicles. This amazing feat of MILDEC completely paralyzed the international response.
Make sure you swallow your mouthful of beer before you read the next sentence, cause you will LOL all over your screen. Close your eyes and try, just try, to imagine the US Army attempting to invade and annex territory without everyone knowing exactly whowhatwhenwherewhy and even how. Even if the President insisted to high heaven that we weren’t actually in Transcarpathia or Sierra Gordo, half of the country’s strippers would be getting daily updates and cool guy pics. The minute we took off our flags and nametapes the medical corps would be overwhelmed with apoplectic CSMs needing open heart surgery. So are we ready for the next war? Unless it’s a massive invasion of Europe by armor and infantry, probably not.
While we have spent the last century fighting our current wars with the prior war’s tactics and equipment, I think we need to take it to the next step. We shouldn’t just fight our current war with current tactics and equipment, but that of the next war! Imagine if during World War One the United States Army had access to World War Two equipment and TTPs? It would have saved millions of lives!
One downfall is that we cannot see into the future due to government forced speed limits all under 88mph so we don’t know what will be used to fight in World War Three.
“I know not with what weapons World War Three will be fought, but World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Abraham Lincoln (according to a meme I saw on Facebook.)
With this knowledge we can not only jump one step ahead of our adversaries, but two!
This is a no brainer and in fact I’m not the first to have thought of it. One recent budget analysis has found that switching out tanks and aircraft carriers for sticks and rocks can save the Pentagon up to 15% over the next decade and that top brass have actually been floating this transition since the 90s!
FOIA requests about rumored pilot programs tested in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in early 2003 have yet to be returned.
I’ve never worked in the Pentagon but I took a few really cool tours so I know that there are a lot of really smart people working there round the clock to make sure we know exactly what the next war will look like. However they were all drunk, probably because they know there’s absolutely no way to predict jack shit in this world no matter how many super computers you build and SharePoint sites you make. So these yahoos, basking in the riches that Uncle Sam gives them to be officers on active duty, have zero fucks to give and zero tasks to do all day other than play naked Yahtzee because they know one singular truth about America – we have absolutely horrible foresight but a giant scythe of death that will lop the heads off of any dumbasses who present a target. We’re America. We can afford to be fat, dumb, drunk, and reactive instead of proactive all we want to because we’re really really good at it.
Scott Faith, editor, The Havok Journal
We’re not ready for the next war. We’re not even ready for the two wars we’re currently fighting.
Don’t get me wrong: despite the fact that Americans are fatter, and dumber, and more divided, and less willing to serve now than at any time I’ve been in uniform, we could still kick any other country’s ass militarily. Perhaps even any two countries’ asses simultaneously. We could crush them like a Clemson/Ohio State playoff game. We could shut them down like the Clinton Foundation We could make them as irrelevant as a Mariah Carey mic check.
The problem is, we can win the invasion. We can mitigate the threat to the homeland. But we no longer have an appetite for what it takes for “victory,” and we haven’t since WWII.
Most of the problems faced by America’s military are political problems, not military ones. Instead of fighting to win, we engage in a “poor game” of politics, asking the military to be good, but not “too” good, at fighting and killing, while not being serious about actually winning the wars. And we definitely don’t want to impose upon the American people with something as onerous as a war tax or a draft.
You win wars by breaking the will of the people you’re fighting. We don’t fight like that anymore; we concentrate on “winning hearts and minds” and end up losing wars. You don’t win wars by #hastivism. You don’t win through “awareness.” You win, to paraphrase T.R. Ferhrenbach, by the same way the Romans did: by putting your young people into the mud. If you give the other side sanctuary, allow others to support them, and aren’t serious about winning, you’re never going to. That’s kind of where we are now in the missions to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s where we might be in the future as well.
General Mark Milley, the current Chief of Staff of the Army, gets it. He envisions future Warfighters as “miserable, disobedient, and victorious.” But they can only be that way if they are empowered, encouraged, and allowed to win the wars they are told to fight. We have serious issues regarding manpower, mission, and mismanagement to fix if we don’t want our next war to end up the way most of them have since WWII.
To quote one of the most famous warriors of all time, you know you’ve won when you “crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.” Oh wait, that’s a fantasy too. Just like our hopes for future warfare that involves less blood, more victories, and fewer boots on the ground.
Ever have one of those days where you’re trying to say something intelligent after a bunch of other really intelligent people with thousands of years of combined experience have already contributed their wisdom, but you’re the token artilleryman?
Okay, so I’ve got no pithy quotes to bring to the table, but I do have one overwhelming truth: If the food is good enough, the grunts will stop complaining about the incoming fire. Wait, shit, that was a pithy quote. Oh well.
I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but MREs these days are badass. Did you know the veggie omelet is no more? It’s been replaced by this bacon/hashbrowns/peppers thing that’s absolutely amazing. There’s also a sausage in gravy breakfast one that’s pretty decent too, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the hashbrowns.
Eating MREs in the field used to be a chore. The entrees were godawful, the sides were shit, and speaking of shit, ten guys on an MRE heavy diet could fill a porta shitter in the woods at Bragg in no time flat. Now instead of ratfucking the MRE boxes to find the ones with candy in them, we’re basically ratfucking them out of force of habit. There are no bad options. Hell, even the vegetarian meals are pretty awesome these days. And you know what? You might not even get the MRE shits if you’re careful.
I’m not trying to downplay the wonderful technological advances that have arisen over the last decade or so, but fuck all that shit. If you really wanna win the next war, tell the grunts that the bad guys are coming to take their chow. They’ll be using severed heads as the rock or something to heat up dinner.
I’d add on to what Kevin is saying that if you make sure the troops actually get paid on time while simultaneously telling them they might lose chow, it’s a no-lose military. Make sure they get taken care of when they get back and you’ll have the most motivated fighting force in the history of mankind.
Are we headed for another “big one” in terms of international conflict? Some say it’s very possible. There will assuredly be problems that we can’t foresee, but we can also do what any good fighter does–make sure our fundamentals are on point.
Can we out-shoot, out-move, and out-communicate our potential enemy? If you’re not superior at the fundamentals of combat, all the technology in the world could be for naught.
Make sure they’re fed, paid, and taken care of at home and that they can shoot, move, and communicate to the best of their ability. Everything else falls into place.
Especially porn and booze. Those always magically appear even if you don’t want them to.